FCC rules internet access as public utility – net neutrality is on its way

On February 26, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to regulate broadband Internet access service as a public utility (e.g., water and telephone). Reclassification as a telecommunication service utility will allow for network neutrality.

In order to safeguard net neutrality, the FCC’s rules provide for:

(i) no blocking: access to content and services shall not be blocked;

(ii) no throttling: broadband providers may not impair internet traffic; and

(iii) no paid prioritization: there should not be pay-to-play fast lanes for Internet companies that can afford it and slow lanes for everyone else.

According to the FCC, the new rules will preserve the internet as a platform for innovation, free expression and economic growth. The rules shall also protect consumers no matter how they access the Internet, whether on a desktop or a mobile device.

The FCC will enforce the Open Internet rules through investigation and will provide opinions for guidance.

The decision answered the President’s recent call for a free and open Internet (see also here).

According to the the Economist (see article) only three other countries — Chile, the Netherlands and Slovenia — have passed strict network-neutrality laws, whereas most other countries have adopted softer rules.

FCC Press release is available at http://www.fcc.gov…

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